The Makegood: What does Trueffect do, and how has the company been innovative in the display ad technology industry?
We’re a first-party ad server platform providing display advertising targeting and measurement for large performance advertisers. In a nutshell, Trueffect provides the technology that major brands use in order to better leverage their hard-earned first-party user data (e.g., site registration, historical purchases, etc.) in a safe, secure environment. Early on, we realized that data was going to be the heart of display advertising technology’s currency—it’s a primary reason why marketers’ budgets have been shifting from traditional media to digital. We also knew that along the way, the need to protect and activate first-party data would become more important for a variety of reasons (e.g., third-party cookie issues, privacy concerns), so we focused on creating a solution that would help brands solve for those marketplace changes. With two first-party patents awarded (and eight additional patents in process), we’ve pioneered the field of first-party technology and continue to be the only company solely focused on solving this major piece of the digital marketing puzzle.
The Makegood: You are working to build awareness around the importance of first-party customer data. Could you elaborate on what this means?
First, it’s important to understand the two primary reasons that third-party cookies are on their way out: first, the ever-increasing popularity of mobile – iOS has disabled cookies entirely, and Android allows them in an extremely limited capacity – and second, a resumed interest in online privacy from both consumers and governments – such as the mandatory disclosure of cookie use that’s been implemented in the EU. At the core of both of these trends is a concern for consumer privacy—or at the very least, an awareness that consumers are concerned, and a desire to respond to them rather than lose them.
As MightyHive’s CEO, Pete Kim, stated “More than ever, first-party data represents a critical foundation for future marketing plans because it’s the only data that your competition will never have.” He hits the nail on the head, as far as why first-party customer data—and improving your ability to activate data for better targeting, measurement, and creative decisioning—are so important. First-party targeting and measurement offers a more privacy centric approach to ad serving than traditional third-party cookies. Data collected by a site is retained within the brand’s own domain—remaining within its own walls, so to speak—so that there’s no risk of data leakage to other ad networks or third-party data collection entities. This means consumers can rest assured that the data that they have supplied to a particular brand will remain with that brand and that a brand’s site visitors will not become their competitors’ targets.
The Makegood: How does Trueffect utilize data to convert more visitors? What other forms of technology has the company used or developed?
We allow our brand and agency customers to make their first-party data actionable in order to segment their prospect and customer bases, and then serve different ads as well as bid differently on their behalf in the ad serving process. For example, if we know that a user has visited the site and searched for a flight to London, then we would create a dynamic creative ad with London flight prices. On the other hand, if we know a user visited a site and booked a flight to London we would serve ads for the complementary services such as London hotels or tourist attractions. This is just one example, but there are numerous case studies in retail, travel, and web services that demonstrate how a solution like ours can help brands move customers and prospects through the funnel and increase ROI.
The Makegood: What do you see for the future of digital? How will you keep Trueffect up to date within the industry?
We strongly believe that first-party data is increasingly becoming a core asset for brands, and that advertisers should be capitalizing on their own IP, without having it being diluted by the risk of third party exposure. A multitude of technology companies are creating Ad-ID solutions, but their data can still be owned and accessed by a third-party. That is not the case with Trueffect.
Trueffect is moving towards building an identity management solution that essentially provides brands with a user-based rather than a cookie-based view of ad measurement. As we all know, users are increasingly consuming media across multiple devices, so we’re making sure our solutions adapt to the dynamic behavior of users online and enabling performance marketers to seamlessly target these users across devices.
The Makegood: Before becoming CEO at Trueffect, you were the COO at Datalogix. How did your experience with Datalogix help you at Trueffect? What have you learned about digital media and technology throughout your career?
Through a great experience at Datalogix, I learned very quickly the importance of “data” as an asset for marketers, due to the changes in software, browsers and devices. The same holds true here at Trueffect, where we provide marketers with deep insights into this data and in turn, help them to effectively target and measure within their digital campaigns. My experience through the span of my career has also led me to focus on building organizations that are not representative of the number of people but of the right people and running a highly efficient organization. Here at Trueffect, this has allowed us to raise a minimal amount of capital and, at the same time, to continue to have market-leading growth in the 60-80 percent range year over year. I’m a big sports fan so to use a sports analogy, companies need to be where the puck is headed, not where the puck is today. At Trueffect, our focus is not on legacy technologies but rather, collaborating with forward thinking marketers and leading them in “where the puck is heading” and what they’ll need in the future.